A new microchip has successfully been developed that can harness energy from wireless signals in the air around us.
Researchers at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands have created the world’s first sensor chip that can draw power from the wireless networks it uses to communicate. Inside is a micro-antenna that captures the nearby signals and converts them into energy; this is then used to drive the temperature sensor on-board. Signals are bounced back to the router but only at distances of up to an inch, so it’s not really ready for widespread use.
Still, it’s a cool proof of concept and has plenty of implications for the future of embedded devices. Add to this that the manufacturing cost is only around 20 cents and you can definitely see a market for it in the near future. The team hopes to extend its range to 10 feet within a year, making it much more usable in a real-world sense.
It’s also worth noting that the temperature sensor device measures just 2 millimetres across, making it also the smallest temperature sensor in the world.
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